Cork is officially Ireland's second city, but it is affectionately known by locals as the 'real capital of Ireland'. It is a city made for discovering on foot, thanks to the River Lee which flows around its centre, creating a compact island that is jam-packed with grand Georgian streets, intersected by medieval alleys and modern architectural triumphs such as the opera house.
Exploring Cork on foot will open out to you interesting waterways, lively traditional bars, modern art centres, historical buildings, fascinating independent shops and some of the best restaurants that Irelandhas to offer.
Shopping in CorkCork is a shopper’s delight, not least because it still has a number of thriving independent traders that help set its shopping district apart from the interchangeable chains that dominate many other cities. Taking a stroll through the winding alleys around Grand Parade and Patrick Street you will discover many quirky independent retailers offering vintage clothes, handmade crafts and bespoke jewellery. When the shopping becomes too much there are also plenty of atmospheric cafes to relax and discuss your purchases in.
Restaurants in CorkCork has the best foodie scene in the country and lovers of fine foods are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. It’s not just in restaurants, however, where Cork’s love of gastronomy comes to life: a trip to the English Market on Princes Street is enough to work up a hearty appetite in itself, with beautifully presented local produce (cheeses, ham, salmon, buttered eggs, sausages and artisanal breads) mingling with quality imports like olives and wines.
Views of CorkSome of the finest views of Cork can be enjoyed from two historic buildings:Elizabeth Fort and Cork City Gaol. On Sundays the Elizabeth Fort Market Festival will reward you with more than stunning views: Irish crafts, gourmet food and entertainment are also hosted within its historic walls. The views of the west of the city, including Cork’s university, from the old Gaol make it well worth the bus or taxi ride out to it.
Sport in CorkPáirc Uí Chaoimh is a 50,000 capacity stadium in Ballintemple. It is the home of the Cork Gaelic Athletic Association, so you can always catch live football here on match days or enjoy a tour of the grounds every Monday and Wednesday.
Nature in CorkWith the tranquil River Lea never far away Cork provides many chances to get away from it all, whilst never being too far away from the amenities of the city. Fitzgerald Park offers tranquillity and natural beauty in the heart of Cork, whilst Lough Park is set around a freshwater limestone lake teeming with wildlife just one kilometre south-west of the city centre.
Enjoy CorkWith a warm welcome on every corner, modern art galleries, cosy pubs, great restaurants, historic buildings, regular festivals and shops with a difference, Cork has certainly claimed its place as the ‘real capital of Ireland’ in the hearts of its many visitors.